After suffering through another unwatchable Ravens game, I have decided to come out of retirement to speak my mind. And first off, what an embarrassing performance today top to bottom. The stench of this loss is gonna be hard to shake.
Once again I see coaching as a major factor for this loss. I cannot understand why a safety was the best they could do to slide into the inside linebacker position vacant with Mosley’s injury. Anthony Levine was playing linebacker on run downs next to Zachery Orr, and getting mauled by lineman that outweigh him by over 100 pounds. I can maybe see slipping him in at backer on nickel packages, but in base personnel? I watched time and time again, with the Jets running easily in Levine’s gap as he gets driven five yards out of the play. Why on Earth, when you have rookie second round pick Kamalei Correa, do you have a safety playing the position? What player do you think makes more sense, a 5’11 200lb safety, or a 6’3″ 250lb linebacker? Answer is simple to me regardless of how much intellectual edge Levine might have had.
This is a perfect example of the disconnect between the front office and the coaching staff. They spend a premium high second round pick on a guy nobody had ever heard of. True, I’m not scouting these guys and spending hundreds of hours watching tape, but how do you explain selecting the guy, then immediately changing him from outside linebacker to inside linebacker? This guy was supposed to be a high motor effort player who we all thought was drafted to enhance the lackluster pass rush. But no, they decide to move him to inside where he never gets any reps. Then when one of our inside guys goes down, he still sits. I’m perplexed to say the least. Is his position coach unable to teach him his responsibilities? It makes no sense. So finally they wised up and decided to put him in after watching Levine get manhandled for three quarters. Was Harbaugh not on board with this selection in the draft? That might explain his reasoning for not playing him, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that he allowed the Jets to bulldoze Levine for three quarters. If they wanted an inside linebacker in the draft, they should have drafted an inside linebacker.
Moving to the other side of the ball, another glaring coaching error occurred in my opinion. Flacco should not have played in this game. His shoulder obviously was affecting him, as he was grossly inaccurate on his throws traveling more then ten yards(5-15 on these throws with 2 interceptions). He was skittish in the pocket, and had no chance to succeed under these circumstances.
Everyone knows the Jets are stout against the run, evident by the fact that the Ravens only attempted twelve runs and only gained six yards. So if you know going in that the game plan is to throw forty plus times, why would you put Flacco out there? It doesn’t make sense to expose your franchise quarterback to that kind of pounding with no help from the running game. Maybe if the game plan called for a heavy dose of runs with some play action mixed in, it would make sense to play Flacco. That game plan would call for more like 25-30 throws, many of which would be protected by the game flow. But since it seemed to be to just line up and wing it forty plus times, it should have been Mallett out there. Joe could have had two plus weeks to rest up and get healthy for the Steelers game after the bye.
Another thing that’s killing us, is every week the Ravens seem to be snake bitten by bizarre plays that go against them. This week it was Jernigan recovering a fumble and subsequently losing it back to the jets, giving them a fresh set of downs inside the five yard line. Can somebody please coach these defensive players up on ball security! It’s a huge deal to create a turnover, don’t blow it by giving it back because your fighting for an extra yard or two. Put two hands on the ball, cover it up and go down. We need the turnover not the extra three yards you might gain.
I support this team, but I also exercise the right to bitch when they don’t play inspired football. That has been the case the last month- uninspiring football. It’s a damn shame because the usually strong AFC North division is way down this year. But at the end of the day, as bad as it’s been, they are only a game out of first place, with two weeks to prepare for a home tilt against the probably Big Ben-less Steelers. That’s a winnable game if John Harbaugh can turn this ship around somehow and get these players back on track. Hopefully this bye week allows our injuries to heal, and our minds to get back to playing inspired football. Let’s see what John Harbaugh is made of.